For those following the raging debate over coal and oil train safety, I high recommend Walter Bogdanich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning NYT series, “Death on the Tracks.” It’s a decade old now, but the findings are damning and they shine a light on an industry that can be hostile to its workers, careless of public safety, and arrogant in its  near-immunity to regulation.


In Victoria, some barn swallows have figured out how to use motion sensors to get to and from their nests.


[Completely consumed this week by the Santa Barbara shooting and fallout.] I sat at my kitchen table this past Tuesday morning, tearing up before work as I watched the utterly heartbreaking video of Richard Martinez, father to one of the Santa Barbara shooting victims, beg of the audience, “Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the N.R.A. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say, ‘Stop this madness; we don’t have to live like this’?”

Martinez later added, “I don’t care about your sympathy. I don’t give a shit that you feel sorry for me. Get to work and do something. I’ll tell the president the same thing if he calls me. Getting a call from a politician doesn’t impress me.” Wow: exactly. And his compassion for the father of the shooter was equally stunning. Read more in the above-linked article.

I couldn’t really watch much of the video of the shooter describing the crazed, misogynist reasons for his rampage. I was utterly chilled by what little I did see of it. In the wake of the event, however, the trending of the hashtag #YesAllWomen created a large, digital space for people—mostly women—to share their experience and understanding of the sexist culture that helps to produce thinking like his. It’s worth a look (and yes, you can check it out without having a Twitter account). Some of my favorites, and don’t miss this strong reflection on the discussion from Slate: